From tech startup to media company: Videogram evolves, with smart TV on the horizon

Videogram is now Leap Motion enabled

We’ve written about Cinemacraft’s Videogram solution a few times before here on The Bridge. It is a player that lies of top of existing web video, giving a visual paneled preview of different portions of that video. The startup received investment from 500 Startups, and this year began working with Turner Broadcasting by way of its 12-week Media Camp, and subsequently when it became an investor as well. Founder Sandeep Casi explained to me that although they started out strictly as a technology company, they have now grown to become more of a media company.

And not just any media company either. Recently they were one of five TVOT nominees for the best TV and video user interface / user experience, right alongside the likes of Netflix, Dish Network, and Showtime Network. They’re building for the future too, announcing Leap Motion integration today. Much of their recent progress, says Sandeep, has come about thanks to the alliance with Turner.

“Turner has been fantastic,” he explains. He says that the connection with Turner really helped them get official embed status for Twitter, their player now white-listed for viewing. What that means is that now Videogram clips can be shared in the Twitterstream, and function as they normally would.

Having made solid progress with presentation of video on the web, Sandeep is looking ahead to what he says was his vision all along: Television. He’d like to make electronic program guides more interactive, and Videogram can be a pathway to doing that. By integrating their service into smart TVs, not only do you bring the paneled functionality of Videogram, but you also bring the capability to socially share portions of television shows in a more granular manner via the sharing function on those panels. You can check out some Videogram Smart TV interfaces here if you’d like to learn more.


As for the business side of things, Videogram panels also enable banner ad placement within videos for advertisers. Sandeep showed me an example using an NBA clip (see below), where panels visually previewed highlights of a Knicks game, with one panel showing a banner ad for a basketball shoe. That banner, when clicked, gave an option to buy via the Nike website [1]. Obviously this sort of hyper-relevant product placement holds a lot of potential in the video advertising space, especially for TV. Sandeep explains:

We’re trying to make the industry think about engagement, not views. For advertisers this is important, because they now know their video is being eyeballed.

When I talked with Sandeep, he showed me a number of Videogram mockups and samples for a wide range of notable entertainment properties. To be honest, it was hard to keep up with which companies were already clients, and which ones were just mockups. But it’s hard not to admire Videogram having the confidence to overhaul a given company’s online video presence on spec, and take it to their offices to sell them on its potential. Sandeep adds:

This is our business development scheme. This is what we do. And I really can’t believe that more startups don’t do it. Clients get it immediately. We give them a link, and they can convince internally with that link.

Videogram’s iOS app has come a long was as well, recently getting an upgrade that lets users capture multiple clips, combining them as a composite video. This is a function we see in many video apps these days, but the technique lends itself especially well to Videogram since different clips could be represented by different panel previews.

Cinemacraft has already deployed Videogram across a number of properties, including CBS, ABC, FOX , Sony, and even in India’s Bollywood. I expect NTT group will also be assisting the company to reel in some big fish here in Japan as well. I’m told that their service has grown in popularity in Korea as well, so I look forward to hearing news from that front too.

  1. There’s also a play button, so buy link appears to be not too intrusive.  ↩